College Essays

The University of Miami Supplemental

Prompt: The University of Miami’s official mascot is the ibis. Folklore maintains that the native marsh bird is the last to take shelter before a hurricane hits and the first to emerge once the storm passes, making it an apt symbol of courage and resilience. Considering your ability to control your own motivation and behavior, how have past experiences helped build your courage and resilience to persist in the face of academic and life challenges so that, once these storms pass, you can emerge in continued pursuit of your goals? 250 words


A month after being diagnosed with breast cancer, my mom underwent a mastectomy, then radiation therapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Tamoxifen, the medication she takes now, is an estrogen modulator that blocks the effects of estrogen in breast tissue to prevent breast cancer relapse. The side effects include hostility, mood swings, and depression. Even though she no longer has a tumor, cancer has changed my mom and stolen the radiance of the woman that raised me. My relationship with my mom changes every day: from helper to the enemy to daughter to friend to useless to, sometimes, nothing.

This experience, while one of the hardest in my life, has given me endless empathy and taught me to be dependable. However, many other challenges have nurtured my character in the same way. I’ve learned patience from constantly taking care of my little sisters. I’ve grown disciplined while listening to my basketball coach. I’ve come to understand the importance of sacrifice while cramming for tests in the library with my friends during lunch. I’ve developed compassion from watching immigrants struggling to be understood through an accent like my father once did.

My resilience is the souvenir I’ve taken from all my experiences. I’ve gained the ability to look to the future and to see each struggle as an opportunity. I continue to meet obstacles head-on while running long distances, studying for hours, and working long shifts to further my goals, and I will bring the same mindset to Miami.

Tips for Writing: 

Supplemental essays are short and were new to me, so I procrastinated writing them out of fear of not knowing how or what to write. However, I had to finish them as deadlines approached, and so I started by writing down all my thoughts. Then, my head was clear enough to begin editing, looking at the prompt again for specifics, and changing the details. The biggest advice I would give to anyone is to start writing, no matter how much content you think you have. You’ll be able to get a clearer picture of what you have to say, how it relates to the school, and how you can make it better if you aren’t afraid of having multiple drafts.

Write A Comment